Alberto Salomoni former coach of Köpenicker SC in German pro league DVL, told me once about the complicated Germans who take warm-up way to serious. „Think easy, relax“, coach Salomoni told me. I would like to share his thoughts with you, because they changed my approach towards warm-up a lot. And I would like to do it on the first drill he started every single practice: setting for everybody.
He put a player on Position IV (later II) on both sides of the net and the rest of the team on positions I (later V). See figure below.
The Ball is set from position I (beginners start in the middle of the court) to position IV and back. Players follow the ball. The setting has to be as if there would be an attack. The ball has come down inside the antenna and at least one meter off the net. Ball and players circle for 3 – 5 minutes and then change to the other diagonal. After 1,5 – 2,5 minutes they change all the time from setting to digging the ball if they are on position I (or V).
This drill is not only warming up players (cardio-pulmonary) but also takes care of a very important situation during games: mistakes or problems in pass receiving or digging. Every single player on the court (especial in the back row) has to be able to set a perfect pass if the setter is out of play (had to dig for an attack, receive is out of reach etc.). If not, your team will have to give the ball away for an easy transition on the opponents side more often then necessary.
By using this drill your team gets a measurable advantage because of more pressure after a problem in the pass receiving or digging. And that gives them a chance scoring more points even in unfavorable situations.
There is a variation to this drill coach Salomoni used in addition to the first one (see second figure below). The coach is positioned on the volleyball base line with enough balls. Players stand in line behind positions I and V outside the court and a player on positions II and IV.
The coach gives a signal (like clapping on the ball) and brings the ball into play in the middle of the court (or any other position that simulates problems in receiving). At the same time the first player in line on the right hand side runs onto the field and sets (or if announced, diggs) the ball towards position IV. The player positioned there catches the ball, puts it into the basket at the coaches side and gets in line on the left hand side. Meanwhile the coach gave the next signal and the first player on the left hand side sets the ball towards position II and so on. After 3-5 minutes players who start from the right hand side set (dig) the ball towards position II and those starting from the left hand side set (dig) towards position IV. Take care that all players get set before playing the ball.
Coach Salomoni combines warm-up with ball handling and aiming while playing the ball in unusual situations. The intensity of the drill is low and players get their cardio-pulmanory or cardiovascular system preparing for requirements during practice.
This drill was followed by mobilisation and stabilisation exercises.
Supplement: After some own thoughts about learning in general and motor learning in specific I would like to add to the first drill: Do it using a third station on back left or right that diggs the ball before the „setter“ comes and sets the ball to the attacking position. Players can rotate like this: from attacking/passing to the digging position to the setting position, to the attacking/passing position.